June 2, 2022

You will know the musicians but most probably not the name, but Bible Black was an East Coast American rock band that came together in the early 1980s but achieved little success or acclaim. I have to admit that the band passed me by, which was a pity as this was exactly the sort of music that I wanted to hear in the early ’80s but, especially in the UK, hard rock/heavy metal was not a genre much in favour with the music press with punk, new wave and electro dominating the album charts.

The band was formed by the former Elf/Rainbow musicians Gary Driscoll and Craig Gruber both of whom were used and unceremoniously dumped by a certain guitarist in his quest for heavy metal dominance. Of course, the removal of the Elf musicians from Rainbow except for Ronnie James Dio proved to be a masterstroke when Rainbow Rising arrived but it was hard luck on the Elf guys who probably expected to be long term members of Rainbow. The third musician involved in the founding of the band was guitarist Andrew ‘Duck’ McDonald who was also involved with Blue Cheer and Thrasher. In their short period of existence the band recorded two albums with Bible Black in 1981 and Ground Zero in 1983 and both appear to be pretty much unavailable these days. The band also went through several singers with Jeff Fenholt being the longest serving and he had a brief stint with Tony Iommi/Black Sabbath, the band Joshua and was also Jesus Christ in the original Broadway version of Jesus Christ Superstar. Then there was Louis Marullo who operates with the stage name Eric Adams and he went on to Manowar plus there was Joey Belladonna who moved on to join Anthrax. All three singers were involved in recording a selection of demos for Bible Black and these have now been restored and remastered and are available together for the first time. Sadly, only Andrew MacDonald remains as the only surviving member of Bible Black so, hopefully, these recordings will help to right a great injustice as this band should have been massive.

The 14-tracks on the album offer 62-minutes of gargantuan heavy metal that punches you between the eyes and simply batters you into submission. The songs are hard, heavy and incessant and you can see the development from metal to thrash in the recording that all sound so smooth, clear and fresh. The music has been restored by Patrick Engel and he has done a wonderful job as these are crystal clear recordings that sound as though they have just been newly recorded with the very latest studio equipment and techniques. The vocal performances are excellent and the guitar will, quite literally, blow your socks off.

These guys were all amazing musicians and with a little more luck should have been up there with the giants of metal so check this album out immediately to see what we have all missed out on. Imagine some sort of hybrid between Dio’s Rainbow and Sabbath to get some flavour of what is on offer here, but to hear it is to want it: do not miss out again on this sadly overlooked band from yesteryear.

The Complete Recordings 1981 – 1983

  1. Gone (Eric Adams on vocals) (3:27)
  2. Metal Man (Eric Adams vocals) (4:04)
  3. Back To Back (Eric Adams vocals) (4:04)
  4. Down On The World (Jeff Fenholt vocals) (3:22)
  5. Ain’t No Crime (Jeff Fenholt vocals) (4:06)
  6. Fighting The Wind (Jeff Fenholt vocals) (6:08)
  7. Back Door (Jeff Fenholt vocals) (5:05)
  8. Paint It Black (Jeff Fenholt vocals) (4:31)
  9.  Fires Of Old (Jeff Fenholt vocals) (5:34)
  10. You Got Me Where You Want Me (Jeff Fenholt vocals) (4:51)
  11. Deceiver (Joey Belladonna vocals) (4:28)
  12. Midnight Dancer (Joey Belladonna vocals) (4:30)
  13. Gone (Jeff Fenholt vocals) (3:38)
  14. Metal Man (Jeff Fenholt vocals) (3:44)